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Chapter Five
WOMAN'S  LIFE
I. THE SUBJECTION OF WOMEN
SOMETHING in the Chinese blood never quite gave woman her due from primeval times. The fundamental dualistic outlook, with the differentiation of the yong (male) and the yin (female) principles, went back to the Book of Changes, which was later formulated by Confucius. The respect for women, a certain tenderness toward the female sex, which was characteristic of the Teutonic races already in their barbaric days, was absent in the early pages of Chinese History. As early as the time of the folk-songs, collected in the Book of Poems, there was a sexual inequality, for "when a baby boy was born he was laid on the bed and given jade to play with, and when a baby girl was born she was laid on the floor and given a tile to play with." (This song must have been centuries older than Confucius.) But woman was not subjected until she was civilized. The progressive subjection of women followed pace by pace the increasing development of Confucianism.
The original social system was a matriarchal system, and this is important, for something of this spirit still survives in Chinese womanhood to the present day. The Chinese woman is, on the whole, a constitutionally sounder animal than her male companion and we still have plenty of matriarchs even in the Confucian households. Traces of this matriarchy were still clearly visible in the Chou Dynasty, when the family name, or hsing, was the woman's name, and man had only a personal name, or skih, after his place of birth or his official position. Throughout the folk-songs of the Book of Poems we fail to see any traces of the seclusion of women. Something of thefreedom in the choice of mates, like what still prevails among the southern aborigines of Kwangsi, must have prevailed ia the